Friday, January 13, 2012

January 12th – Barbados

After the British arrived on Barbados in the 17th century, most of the island's dense forest was cleared to make way for sugar cane plantations; so there's little of the island's original environment left. What has survived is mostly crammed into the narrow limestone gulleys that criss-cross the islands.

So, today (whilst Tracy visited "The Concorde Experience"), I visited probably the most fertile and best preserved gulley, the Welchman Hall Gulley – a narrow strip of lush vegetation and tropical trees, enclosed within vertical limestone cliffs. The whole place was teeming with life – creepy millipedes, skittish vervet monkeys, huge termite mounds – you got the impression that if you just dropped a seed on the soil, within days it would sprout into a full-grown tree.

Of course, what makes Barbados so incredibly fertile, is its warm tropical air and plentiful rain – so we experienced quite a lot of "liquid sunshine" as we drove around the island in our open-air jeep. Fortunately, a very potent rum punch helped keep the dampness away and meant that the conversation on the way back was much more animated than it had been on the way there.

Luckily, in the evening it stayed dry, so we had a wonderfully enjoyable deck party. Aside from all the delicious food served at the barbeque, there was some excellent local entertainment that came onboard - a toe-tapping steel band, lively calypso dancers, and some fantastically energetic stilt walkers. These guys could dance better balanced 12 feet in the air, than most people can on the ground.

What a great send off from the Caribbean, before we head down to Brazil.